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News of our work in India & Bangladesh May - October 2005

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MEMORIES ...Do you collect stamps? ... The Tsunami …

A. Do you collect stamps?

P&O stamp

P&O stamp

I have been collecting stamps for over 65 years. It is interesting to see what ideas and illustrations these contain. In was in part this hobby that led me on to want to find out what the places from which the stamps came were really like? What were the people like? Could I imagine their daily life, or understand them, if we talked to each other?

Then came the call to go as a Missionary, and so see for myself - to talk to them, and to listen to what they worshipped as gods. Then to try to make real for them the only true God - to introduce them to the Trinity. To tell of God the Father's love and care; of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the work of the Holy Spirit, inspiring men and women throughout the ages.

There were the people whose pictures were on the stamps - mainly rulers of the various countries, but also scenes from that country and the people there.

When I first offered to go out as an S.P.G. Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Missionary, and was spending time in training at the College of the Ascension at Selly Oak, it appeared that the place I was to go to as a Diocesan Sunday School Adviser would be either Cape Town in Africa, or Calcutta in India. So there was a special interest in stamps from both of these countries.

Not knowing for a time which it would be, I waited. Then, 50 years ago, the scales tipped towards Calcutta. I set sail from England, going via the Bay of Biscay, the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, to Bombay. Then on by a train (where some passengers rode on top as well as those inside); finally arriving two days later in Calcutta where I was to become the Diocesan Sunday School Adviser, staying at the Nazareth Girls' Home situated in the Oxford Mission compound at Behala. Finally I reached my destination, and experienced the joy of worshipping in the Oxford Mission Chapel there.

B. The Tsunami

Whilst preparing to write the above article I re-read some of the previous Magazine articles, and I was struck by the following from an article written by Mother Susila in 1998/9. She wrote: 'There have been landslides in Nepal bringing water from the North. The Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Jamuna and the Padma rivers have been well over the danger level. Meanwhile there were earthquakes in the sea which brought it higher than the embankments, so the sea is not taking in the extra water. We are in for a big disaster. It is not quite foretelling the end of the world, but it very much feels like it.'

How the people of Ceylon, of whom I wrote in the May/October 2004 Magazine, would endorse this statement, with the events which have taken place there this year, as they ask, "Why didn't God intervene to prevent it?"

I wonder what your answer would be?


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